our garden.

Mar 29, 2012
 Last week, my Mom and I packed up a little picnic and went to her garden. We sat on a blanket in the grass and enjoyed some coffee and croissants with homemade jam. While my mom set to work, weeding, seeding and tending to her vegetables, my brother and I lazily lounged in the sun, talking and reading. A little later, I grabbed my camera for a walk through the grounds.
My mother has the most eclectic taste and puts lovely touches everywhere throughout the garden. Around every corner you stumble upon another tiny treasure. Like an old board full of lushly green moss, an old wire basket filled with pretty stones or wicker chairs full of patina. I just love it.
It is weird though, how I only now start to fully appreciate it. Growing up, I always took it for granted that in the spring and summer we would have our own, strawberries, raspberries, salad, tomatoes, zucchini and whatever else my mother planted that year. Now, I see the magic and beauty in growing your own produce, enjoying the work and taking care of the garden. It doesn’t get more organic, seasonal and regional than that. And of course, I can’t wait to harvest the first fruits of our labor. Literally. The rhubarb has already peeked through the ground and is soon ready to be part of a delicious crumble.
What a beautiful day it was.


Mar 27, 2012
Last weekend, we celebrated my Mom's and brother's birthday. They were born on the same day...talk about a birthday present for my Mother.
I didn't have a chance to make anything the day before, since I was gone all day, travelling to Hamburg and back for an interview. So in the morning, I set to work, baking a little something for them that wouldn't require too much time to make.
For no particular reason, Madeleines came to mind. These french little treats are part of my earliest memories, baking with my Mom. I remember how much I loved the baking tin, with its cute seashell shape. And guess what, I still loved it just as much 20 years later. The recipe is as old as the baking tin itself and comes from this ancient cookbook, which (obviously) I couldn't find online. I only adapted the recipe slightly, by omitting the rum and adding vanilla and poppy seeds. It's not really the taste of poppy seeds, but the visual effect I adore so much. These little black specks look simply beautiful and add a whimsical touch. I didn't end up putting on the lemon glaze from the recipe, but kept it simple with a dusting of powdered sugar instead. If you can, use really fresh and/or organic eggs, since they are an integral part of the recipe. 
We all enjoyed these Madeleines so much, dipping them in our tea whilst unpacking presents. Well, how about I just stop talking now and give you the recipe, so you can try for yourself? 

makes 1 dozen with 165kcal each, as stated in the book

3 eggs (preferably organic and really fresh)
125 g sugar
zest from 1/2 a lemon
100 g flour
60 g butter, liquid and then cooled a bit
1 pack vanilla sugar or 1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp poppy seed

For the glaze:
200g confectioner's sugar
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp water

Preheat oven to 180°C-200°C, depending on the power of your oven. Grease a baking pan.
With a hand or standing mixer, beat eggs until light and fluffy. Bit by bit, add the sugar, lemon zest and vanilla, until the mixture is creamy. Fold in sieved flour, butter and poppy seeds. Fill in the baking form and bake for 12 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack, before applying a dusting of powdered sugar or the glaze.

back home and gone again.

Mar 24, 2012
So, I am back home. No more reading on the beach, no more toes in the sand, no more waves or sunny rooftop terraces. But my time in Spain was beautiful and just what I had hoped for.
  On my last night, we went to see fireworks at the beach, for the Anniversary of the Spanish Constitution, la Pepa. Being a grown up is highly overrated, really. Sometimes, you just have to let the kid in you reign surpreme. 
We sat in the sand and marveled at the twinkly lights and thundering noise. We “Ooohed” and “Aaaaahed “ and were grinning from ear to ear, while people were shouting “Otra! Otra!”

Now though, I can’t wait to celebrate my Mom’s and brother's birthday this weekend. After that, I am off to Amsterdam. The next little adventure awaits.

5 things.

Mar 20, 2012
So, I was tagged in my first blog game of sorts. Annette asked me, if I wanted to join in, answering 5 random things about myself.
Of course I want! Little tidbits of people's life are such entertaining reads to me, so I hope you enjoy it ,too.

5 things you didn't {want to} know about me

1. Unless it's soup, yogurt or ice cream, I don't like eating with a spoon. I will always always always prefer a fork to eat my meals, be it chili, stew, risotto, mashed potatoes, cake, or any other dish.

2. Speaking of ice cream. I hate melted ice cream. Really, can't stand it. As soon as my gelato has become somewhat liquid, I pass it on to my friends, who don't seem to mind. In my book, ice cream has to be firm and cold, not runny and soft.

3. I cry when I laugh. Like, balling my eyes out. It can get a tad unsettling for people, when they don't know anymore, if I am happy or sad. Also, I am thankful for the invention of waterproof mascara.

4. I decided not to buy any new clothes in 2012. As in, no shopping in department stores, boutiques, the internet...you get the picture.

5. If I can be anything in the whole wide world, not taking talent or situation into consideration, I would be a professional surfer. Being in the water all day, travelling the world in search of the best waves...oh, a girl can dream.

Now, I can't wait to hear about the little quirks of these 5 incredibly cool ladies:

Lovely Anna, from Moments of Libra
Talented Helen, from Living Longingly
My name twin Maja, from A Charmed Life
Charming Dutch Girl Julie, from Daisies&Daffodils
My sweet friend Jacqueline, from Mannequin de Vitrine

*pictures of my friend Florent surfing, taken in Bali 

and I quote.

Mar 18, 2012
" I may still not know what I want to be when I grow up, but I do know that someday I want to live in a house filled with my books and travel souvenirs. And the walls that aren't covered in bookshelves will be covered with photos of my family and friends. When I leave the house I will be going to a job I love, and I'll return to a person I love. So, that's the dream I'm working on."

~ Amber Morley

I came across this speaking-from-the-heart quote on this magical little blog.
Picture taken in Cadiz, reading Persuasion in the sunset.

sunset at the beach.

Mar 16, 2012

The other night, we packed up a few supplies and headed to the beach, to enjoy the sunset. People were playing the guitar and jumping in the ocean.
Rum never tasted so sweet.

first impressions from cadiz.

Mar 14, 2012

The first two days here in Cadiz, were just what I had wished for. Surfing, followed by naps on the beach. Breakfast in the sun, followed by walks through town; and tapas and good wine galore.
It will never cease to amaze me, what an impact the warming power of the sun and ocean views have on my mood and overall happiness. Blogging from the rooftop terrace with a tea in my hand, is something I could get used to.

looking up.

Mar 11, 2012
Sometimes, all you need in life to feel inspired again, is a new perspective on things. 

Things are already looking up.

*photographs from a recent walk through regensburg.


Mar 8, 2012
I always liked the fact, that I am a free spirit. A spontaneous person. I could live from one day to the next without scribbling and scratching out to-do lists. If things didn't go according to plan, I was the one staying calm and relaxed. It would all work out like it was supposed to.
Once, I missed a flight going home from Bali, because the dates got switched up. (ok, I switched them up...) Even though I had to pay for another ticket, I just couldn't stop laughing all the way back from the airport.
In the last few weeks however, I found myself growing more restless than I've been in a very long time. With only my thesis left to finish, life as a student will be over before I know it and the real world is waiting for me to join in the fun. Where to go? What to do? How to start? The question marks are just piling up these days.   For the first time, not knowing where I'll be even two months from now, is a bit unsettling. I am trying to see the scary-good excitement behind it all, but it's hard sometimes. So, what to do in moments like that?
Stop worrying about it. Let things go their way. Enjoy the free time one still has left as a student and book a flight. Surf and sun with one of my best friends, Simon.
See you on Monday, Spain!!!

locks of love.

Mar 6, 2012
On the bridge next to my house, an interesting trend has been going on for a few years now. Very rarely spotted in the beginning, they now appear in masses. The Love Locks.
I don't remember exactly, when it all began, but nowadays it seems to be all the rage to hang up an engraved lock on the day one gets married. Every time I cross the bridge and walk past the locks of love, I find it amusing how such a trend develops. It probably started with a young couple in love and an old lock they found somewhere at home. They scratched their initials in the metal and hung it on their favorite spot to watch the sunset. Now, couples buy a flashing lock and have it professionally engraved to hang it next to the literally thousand other ones.

Is it still romantic?

orange tart with lemon syrup.

Mar 4, 2012
It looks like spring is here to stay and I couldn't be happier about that. So before all the fresh and local produce will be popping up at the farmers market, I wanted to bid farewell to oranges. Citrus fruits will forever remind me of christmas, winter and snow. But now, with the days getting longer again and all traces of snow and ice gone, I can't wait for spring fruits. Strawberries, apricots and rhubarb; oh what fun we will have so very soon...but I digress.
The star of this show is definitely the slightly bitter lemon syrup, you pour on top of the tart at the end. It perfectly contrasts the sweetness of the orange filling and rounds out the flavor nicely. It's kind of hard to describe. You just have to trust me on this and go try for yourself.  

Orange Tart with Lemon Syrup
adapted from my aunt's recipe and this book

makes 1 Tart

For the dough
150 g flour
80 g butter in cubes
30 g confectioner's sugar
30 ml water
pinch of salt

Sieve flour, sugar and salt into a big bowl. Add butter and knead through with your hands, until all the dough is nice and smooth. Form into a ball and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 150°C. Roll out dough 5mm thin and put in a greased tart form. With a fork, poke holes in the dough, put a sheet of parchment paper on top and fill with beans, to dry-bake it for 15 minutes.

For the syrup
60g sugar
juice of 1/2 a lemon
150ml of water
1 organic lemon cut into slices

In the meantime, take a small saucepan and add sugar, the lemon juice, water and lemon slices. Let it simmer on small heat, until the water has reduced to a sweet and syrupy consistency and the lemons are soft, around 30-45 minutes or so.

For the filling
3 eggs
2 egg yolks
120g sugar
120ml cream
40ml lemon juice
140ml orange juice
1 1/2 tablespoons of lemon zest

With a hand mixer, mix eggs and sugar until light and creamy. Add whipping cream, lemon and orange juice and lemon zest and mix just until combined. Pour liquid into prebaked tart shell and let bake for another 30 minutes at 150°C.
After tart has cooled a bit, pour lemon syrup on top and arrange the lemon slices.


 For more delicious Sunday Sweets check out Katrin's blog and as always, Pinterest.